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Does One Size Fit All? Ethnic Differences in Parenting Behaviors and Motivations for Adolescent Engagement in Cyberbullying

Abstract

Cyberbullying has become a growing concern for adolescents. This study examined differences in cyber-aggression for 518 Canadian adolescents of either East Asian or European descent (61 % female; M age = 15.24; SD = 1.68). Associations between parenting behaviors (parental control, parental solicitation, and child disclosure) and engagement in cyber-aggression, as well as motivations for engaging in cyber-aggression were explored. Adolescents completed self-report questionnaires about their engagement in cyberbullying, perceptions of their parents’ behaviors about their online activities, their motivations for cyberbullying (reactive vs. proactive), as well as several other relevant psychosocial and demographic variables (e.g., sex, age, Canadian born, mother’s education level, using a computer in a private place, and average amount of time spent online). Regression analyses showed that East Asian adolescents were less likely to engage in cyberbullying. In addition, higher levels of parental control and lower levels of parental solicitation were linked more closely with lowered reported levels of cyber-aggression for East Asian adolescents relative to their peers of European descent. In addition, East Asian adolescents were more likely to be motivated to engage in cyber-aggression for proactive reasons than reactive reasons, with the opposite found for adolescents of European descent. A significant 3-way interaction suggested that this pattern was more pronounced for East Asian males relative to East Asian females. Findings are discussed in terms of cultural differences based on the doctrines of Confucianism and Taoism.

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Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge funding support from the Canadian Institute for Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Author Contributions

J.D.S. and D.M.L. both contributed to the conception, design, and acquisition of data. J.D.S. performed the statistical analysis and coordinated the draft of the manuscript. D.M.L. aided with editing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Jennifer D. Shapka.

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Shapka, J.D., Law, D.M. Does One Size Fit All? Ethnic Differences in Parenting Behaviors and Motivations for Adolescent Engagement in Cyberbullying. J Youth Adolescence 42, 723–738 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-013-9928-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-013-9928-2

Keywords

  • Cyberbullying
  • Cyber-aggression
  • East Asian
  • Parenting behaviors
  • Reactive aggression
  • Proactive aggression